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Health Disparities

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Reducing health disparity among New Jerseyans is an overarching goal of the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH). Health disparities are defined as significant differences between one population and another. The Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act of 2000 describes these disparities as differences in "the overall rate of disease incidence, prevalence, morbidity, mortality or survival rates." There are several factors that contribute to health disparities. Many different populations are affected by disparities including racial and ethnic minorities, residents of rural areas, women, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
SHA2010 Healthy New Jersey 2010: A Health Agenda for the First Decade of the New Millennium was planned in the late 1990s and released in June, 2001. Following the federal Healthy People 2010 initiative, Healthy NJ 2010 established the elimination of disparities in health outcomes based on race and/or ethnicity as one of its two overarching goals, the other being increasing the quality and length of healthy life. To that end, every objective that is measured based on individuals had data and targets for each race/ethnicity for which data were available at the time the baselines were established in 2000. In many cases, data systems were not collecting data by race/ethnicity or were collecting a limited set of races/ethnicities (e.g., White, Black, and Other). Also, for some objectives, the number of events for a particular racial or ethnic group was too small to calculate a reliable rate. As data collection systems improved their race and ethnicity data collection and as some racial/ethnic populations increased in New Jersey, more data were added to Healthy NJ 2010 as can be seen in the Healthy New Jersey 2010 Update published in May, 2005. The Center for Health Statistics also produced a report specifically addressing health disparities called Healthy New Jersey 2010: Assessing Progress by Race and Ethnicity in July, 2008. Healthy NJ 2010 objectives were tracked through conclusion as indicators within the NJSHAD system. The final assessment of Healthy NJ 2010 was published in 2014 as New Jersey State Health Assessment 2010.

HealthyNJ2020 Healthy New Jersey 2020 updated the standard of reporting data by race and ethnicity to include data for Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians for every objective based on person-level data. When a single year of data did not provide enough events to calculate reliable rates for all racial/ethnic groups, three-year averages were used, if available. For some objectives, three years of data combined still did not include enough events to calculate statistically reliable rates and are indicated as such in Healthy NJ 2020 documents. For some data sources outside of NJDOH, data are not available for all Healthy NJ 2020 racial/ethnic subgroups. All Healthy NJ 2020 objectives are being tracked as indicators within the NJSHAD system. Healthy NJ 2020 is also the State Health Improvement Plan.
New Jersey P.L.2004, c.137 established the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative in the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health (OMMH) and set forth priority areas for OMMH to develop and implement a comprehensive, coordinated plan to reduce health disparities between White and racial and ethnic minority populations in the State.

The health disparity priority areas are:
  • asthma
  • breast, cervical, prostate, and colorectal cancer screening
  • cardiovascular disease
  • HealthInequity
  • diabetes
  • hepatitis C
  • immunizations (adult and child)
  • infant mortality
  • injuries (accidental) and violence
  • kidney disease
  • obesity
  • sexually transmitted diseases
RECodingGuidelines In 2007, NJDOH released its Strategic Plan to Eliminate Health Disparities in New Jersey. The plan set a targeted agenda for the reduction of health disparities among minority populations. One of the goals was to standardize the collection and reporting of race/ethnicity data across the Department, so the Center for Health Statistics was charged with creating coding guidelines for the collection and dissemination of race and ethnicity data by programs within NJDOH. The resulting guidelines were published in December, 2007, in a document titled Race and Ethnicity Coding Guidelines for the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services and its Grantees. Consistent with the 1997 OMB-15 directive, it provides a description of the mutually exclusive race and ethnicity categories and also provides guidance on how to collect data on primary language spoken in the home. The Guidelines establish the gold standard by which all NJDOH race and ethnicity data should be collected and disseminated.
Newest New Jerseyans Published in February, 2011, The Health of the Newest New Jerseyans updates health care providers statewide on the health status and behaviors of New Jersey's growing foreign-born population. The report includes important demographic information and geographic trends related to this population, compares select health outcomes and behaviors of state residents by race/ethnicity and nativity status, and examines the impact of duration of U.S. residence on foreign-born residents' health.

NJSHAD Community Dashboard

Dashboards of health indicators for Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites compared to statewide and national rates for:
  • Birth and Infant Health
  • Healthy New Jersey
  • Leading Causes of Death

Leading Health Indicators

Leading Health Indicators

As a group, the Leading Health Indicators from Healthy New Jersey 2020 reflect the major health concerns in New Jersey for the decade 2011-2020.

NJSHAD Indicator Reports

Most or all of the NJSHAD indicator reports in the following topic areas have one or more views by race/ethnicity:
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS)
  • Birth and Infant Health
  • Cancer
  • Child and Adolescent Health
  • Healthy New Jersey 2020
  • Infectious and Communicable Diseases
  • Injury and Violence
  • Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology (MCH Epi)
  • Mortality and Leading Causes of Death
  • Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

NJSHAD Custom Data Queries

Datasets in the NJSHAD query system that have race and/or ethnicity among the variable choices are:
  • Births
  • Deaths
  • Infant Deaths and Fetal Deaths
  • Inpatient Hospital Discharges and ED Visits
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Survey: includes data related to arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular health, cancer screening, diabetes, diet and exercise, health care access and coverage, immunizations, overweight and obesity, substance use, and more
  • Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System: includes data for before, during, and after pregnancy, as well as infant health issues like breastfeeding and safe sleep

Other Data Sources

More data related to race and ethnicity for these topics are available at their respective websites.
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's NJSHAD web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Thu, 26 April 2018 15:07:29 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

Content updated: Tue, 10 Apr 2018 05:01:18 EDT